Baby Ayden Niemela arrives first in 2013

In the wee hours arrived a big baby, the first of 2013.

At 4:37 a.m. on Jan. 1, Ayden Tyler Niemela was born to Hailey Niemela of Bingen at Providence Hood River Memorial, making the 10-pound, 12-ounce tyke the First Baby of the Year at Providence.

Four hours later, and four pounds lighter, came June Tillinghast, at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 20 inches long, at 8:11 a.m., born to Tova and Richard Tillinghast of Snowden, Wash. June joins a brother, Che, 6.

Ayden was due on Dec. 29, Hailey said, adding that she woke up at 4 a.m. on Dec. 31 and immediately knew baby was on his way. At 22 inches long, Ayden was born 24½ hours later.

“I think it’s amazing, honestly, because my grandma kept telling me, ‘It’s going to be a New Year’s baby,’ and I said, ‘Grandma, he’s not going to be a New Year’s Baby, he’s so big already, and I doubt it.’ And, well, I guess he was!”

Dotty Niemela, Hailey’s grandmother, said, “As soon as we found out, we said, ‘That’s alright: 12:01 New Year’s Day.’ Well, 4:37 is close enough!”

Hailey’s mother, Traci Latta, calls her grandson “the famous 10-pounder.”

“I’m proud to be a mommy,” Hailey said. “I’m only 16 and I delivered this ... elephant! Apparently it’s been a while since they’ve (Providence) delivered a baby this big.”

Ayden’s middle name honors his Uncle Tyler, 12, Hailey’s younger brother. Art Niemela is great-grandfather, “a long line of born and raised in White Salmon,” Dotty said. Other family members include stepfather Doug Latta and stepsister Alexis Latta.

The Providence maternity staff also assisted in a birth at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

“We were kind of thinking it might be the first baby of the New Year, and that would be so funny,” Richard Tillinghast said.

“It’s beautiful and wonderful, and very exciting the start of a new chapter, a new era,” Tova said of being the mother of a New Year’s baby.

Richard, who writes and performs music in the Gorge with the group One Hum, said Che is a singer as well.

“We have a new CD coming out and he sings on it,” and mom sings and plays cello. “We play music together quite a bit.”

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